Belfast Telegraph

Teachers' union leader Bunting dies

The Northern Ireland teachers' union leader Frank Bunting has died aged 61.

Mr Bunting was best known for his dedication to the trade union movement and to creating an inclusive society.

The northern secretary of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) built close ties with the Ulster Teachers' Union (UTU), bringing the state and maintained sectors together.

His cousin and fellow trade unionist Peter Bunting said: "He was dedicated to all workers and was hugely non-sectarian. He contributed in a number of senses to an inclusive society in Northern Ireland."

Mr Bunting, from west Belfast, worked as a teacher before spending 20 years with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions as an education and training officer, among other posts.

He was regional officer for the INTO, which mainly represents Catholic maintained schools, from the early 1990s and reached out to teaching colleagues at the UTU.

Mr Bunting added: "He was dedicated to teachers and all workers. He was to the forefront of rejuvenating the May Day festival."

He described his cousin as a mischievous man who rode a motorbike and was noted as a "sartorial radical", always wearing a bow tie.

He had been battling a tumour for around a year and a half and leaves two sons and a daughter.

Education Minister John O'Dowd said: "Throughout his career in the union movement he cared passionately about the rights of teachers and school staff. His contribution over the years has led to improvements not just for staff in the education sector, but also the children we are here to serve - a fact Frank never forgot."

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